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Swedish Medical Center
Text Messaging Etiquette: Are you fully present or presently texting?
by Ivy Meadors
is it ok to text while someone is talking to you?
Is it ok to text during a meeting or presentation?
Is it cool to text at the movies?
Is it ok to text during dinner?
Is it acceptable to text when you are with a group or on a date?
Is it ok to text while you are driving or walking?
The answer is NO!
There is a time and place for texting. Texting during an interaction with someone or activity like those above can say to others, they don't matter enough to stop what you are doing. Texting when you are with others or doing something that can risk hurting hurt someone is more than just insensitive. You can hurt or even kill someone when you text from behind the wheel.
Why do people behave this way?
Because we let them and tolerate the act. Acquiescing doesn't stop the behavior. If we let it happen, it will continue. The only way to stop people from texting during inappropriate times is to ask them to stop. It is not rude to ask for respect and consideration.
I've never had anyone say no to me when I have asked them to get off the phone or stop texting when they are working with me. At the cash register, if the clerk is on the phone or texting and is trying to serve me simultaneously I ask them to get off the phone. I am the customer and they are being paid to service the customers, not talk and or text.
Do you let your call center / help desk staff use their Short Message Services (SMS) or Multimedia Message Service (MMS) for personal use while they are working? (See statistics in article below about the impact on productivity from interruptions.) Just know - it's costing the business money unless they are texting to service the customer.
Meetings: If someone is texting in a meeting, tell them it is distracting and inconsiderate. It is inconsiderate to the speaker AND the people sitting next to them. Texting should be unacceptable and not permitted in a business meeting with rare exception.
If you are the speaker, you could stand in silence, look at the person texting until they look up or ask them for their attention.
Theatre: The light your phone/PDA gives off is extremely distracting. There should be a sign at the entry to a theater that says "Turn off your cell phone and PDA". I can't tell you how many times I have asked someone sitting a few seats from me to turn off their device in a movie.
Dinner (i.e. most meals): The “never answer your phone during dinner” rule has been around for decades and is still in effect. Family, friends, or co-workers - it doesn't matter - turn it off.
Text walking: One in ten people who "walk and text" suffer injuries ranging from bruises to broken noses and fractured skulls according to a British report. Are you walking and texting down the hall to a business meeting and risking injury?
There is a time and place for everything. People should matter enough to be fully present, considerate, and respectful to others, including themselves.
What about you? Are YOU texting at meetings, in movies, when you are with others, at a meal or walking down the street? If the answer is yes, please think twice the next time you text.
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The key findings of this work are that (i) a user performs slower on an interrupted task than a non-interrupted task, (ii) the level of annoyance experienced by a user depends on both the category of primary task being performed and the time at which a peripheral task is displayed, (iii) a user experiences a greater increase in anxiety when a peripheral task interrupts her primary task than when it does not, and (iv) a user perceives an interrupted task to be more difficult to complete than a non-interrupted task.
* * * * *
"So it is with incessant texting, a noxious practice that does not merely alter our in-person interactions but damages them. Even a routine conversation demands continuity and the focus of attention: it cannot, without detriment, be disrupted every few moments while someone deals with a text message." Source: The New York Times
And here we are rewarding the behavior of incessant texting. 15-year-old wins LG's national texting championship
* * * * *
Teenager Falls Into Open Manhole While Texting and now the parents are trying to decide who to sue - the City or the cell phone company.
"Personally, I hate people who wander aimlessly along in public with
their eyes fixated on their mobile and can’t help feeling there was
an element of rough justice here. Sure, the fall could have been
nasty but you can certainly argue that by Longueria not looking
where she was going, contributory negligence is brought into play."
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